NEW DELHI: Regional Rail Transit System (RRTS), the high speed connecting Delhi with its peripheral area appears to have missed the July 2024 deadline as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government has officially rejected the National Capital Region Transport Corporation’s (NCRTC) proposal to build an elevated station for RRTS at Sarai Kale Khan.
To make Sarai Kale Khan a new phase of ISBT in national Capital, the AAP Government has suggested NCRTC to build its station underground.
The Delhi Government has been planning to revamp Sarai Kale Khan and provide connectivity between the Metro, railway station and the bus stand using travelators and skywalks.
According to officials in the Delhi government as well as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), which is behind the RRTS project, the bone of contention is whether the station would be built overhead or underground. While RRTS wants an overhead station, Delhi Government is insisting on an underground one before it gives its nod to the project, to be co-funded by the governments. Till a decision is made, the revamp of Sarai Kale Khan will remain stalled.
DELHI GOVERNMENT’S PLAN
Delhi Governments new building for Sarai Kale Khan ISBT has been stuck for more than five years as the site was earmarked as a green area in the Master Plan prompting Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to withhold its nod.
“The MoHUA changed the land use from ‘District Park’ to ‘Transportation’ in February 2015. This was done to facilitate the Delhi Government in developing Sarai Kale Khan ISBT,” said a senior Government official.
According to a Delhi Government official, ISBT will be developed as a multi-modal transit centre that will integrate city bus service and railways. Thirty per cent of the land has been kept for building hotels at the ISBT, which will have airport-matching facilities.
“This ISBT will be developed with facilities for underground bus parking, car parking and designated places for autos, taxis and two-wheelers,” the official said.
A complete makeover has been proposed for the ISBT at Sarai Kale Khan, which was established in 1996 and caters to nearly 800 buses and more than 50,000 passengers every day.
Whereas in its proposal, the NCRTC have not neglected these redevelopment plans of Delhi Government either for renovating ISBT or constructing a hotel at Sarai Kale Khan.
According to NCRTC which is implementing agency of RRTS, there is no restriction in Delhi Governments redevelopment plans. “The construction of RRTS station and redevelopment of ISBT as proposed by Government is possible. The only modifications regarding sites of hotel or ISBT have been proposed that too with intent to provide maximum benefit to commuters,” said a senior NCRTC official.
“The entire focus is on seamless movement of commuters from one mode to another.
Moreover, since an underground Metro Station is already existed over there, so an underground RRTS station has to be 50m below ground, so considering the current state of affairs at Sarai Kale Khan, no parallel activity is possible, when digging for the construction of an underground RRTS station would take place, which is a time-consuming affair and will take years to complete.
So redevelopment would only be possible with an elevated RRTS station as proposed by NCRTC,” said the official.